Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Loving de/compositions: Non-monogamous love collages
Nollie Joy Nahrung

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T10
Date: 2015-09-26 02:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


Love is seen as a topic of special relevance to feminists, as discourses about love have traditionally been linked to women, yet also used to subjugate them (Toye 2010). Love’s traditional association with women means that it is often derided as non-political and domestic, yet this positioning may offer subversive potential when linked to feminist arts practices that use everyday materials (e.g. existent texts) to critique and counter dominant cultural narratives.

Understanding love as important for developing ethical and political relationships with others, Toye (2010, p. 42) argues that the construction of ‘creative and alternative narratives’ about this topic are necessary. Seeking to answer this call from within the field of non-monogamies, this paper offers a series of creative digital collage/montage works about love that overflow dominant cultural models and norms. In this project, the creative works evidence a situated position of non-monogamy, as contextualised by an accompanying exegetical thread.

The collage/montage works are comprised of images and written text cut and reassembled from a ten-volume set of The Children’s Encyclopaedia (c. 1945–1952). Here, the use of an existent text for re/writing follows traditions within feminist arts practice while creatively exploring the potentiality of “building a new world in the shell of the old”. Further, using an existent text acknowledges how the language available to us plays a central role in the ability to conceptualise and represent non-monogamous relationships within a dominant culture of mononormativity (see Barker 2005; Ritchie & Barker 2006), while imaginatively recasting it.


Barker, M 2005, ‘This is my partner, and this is my … partner’s partner: Constructing a polyamorous identity in a monogamous world’, Journal of Constructivist Psychology, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 75–88.

Ritchie, A & Barker, M 2006, ‘‘There aren’t words for what we do or how we feel so we
have to make them up’: Constructing polyamorous languages in a culture of
compulsory monogamy’, Sexualities, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 584–601.

Toye, ME 2010, ‘Towards a poethics of love: poststructuralist feminist ethics and
literary creation’, Feminist Theory, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 39–55.